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Microbial bacteria and paramecium animation made in After Effects with "Micro"
Lens flare effect for Micro template

For Adobe After Effects

Lens flare element

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Make Microscopic Animations in After Effects - Micro
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Lens flare design element

What is it?

Micro allows users to create custom microscopic animations in Adobe After Effects. These effects realistically imitate what a scientist sees under a microscope. Micro uses photos of real microbes and microscopic debris, resulting in a much more believable animation than the unrealistic 3D animations typically seen in Hollywood films. 

Viruses, amoebas, parasites, bacteria, DNA, atoms, worms, germs, and sperms – They’re all included! You can also use your own image, or design new microbes, and use the effects to bring them to life. With a variety of species, preset swimming movements, and microscope adjustments, you can create virtually any kind of microbial animation. 

Create custom microscopic animations in After Effects!

Realistic, custom microbe organism swimming in petri dish, made entirely in Adobe After Effects


  • 122 organisms or microscopic elements - Includes both videos and images, most with transparent backgrounds, including bacteria, paramecium, parasitic worms, algae, protozoa, amoebas, DNA, coronavirus, and special appendages/bodily features.

  • Create Your Own Microbe - The microbe to the right was created with this template. To make your own, simply draw its shape, fill it with floating particles, and add internal organs or external appendages. The included effects make it wiggle and swim.

  • 9 Action Presets - pre-made animations with various microbial behaviors (as seen in the demo video). Easily swap out the microorganisms in the animations with other species.
       – Assemble (organisms come together in cluster, or surround another object)
       – Scatter (organisms disperse from cluster)
       – Attack / Eat (with a predator and prey)
       – Die (shrivels and tears its membrane, with contents spilling out)
       – Divide (self-replicate/binary fission)
       – Flow Along Path (such as through a vein)
       – Inject (such as fertilization by needle)
       – Two Multiply options (population explosion through self-replication)

  • Custom Movement - Easy-to-use controls for customizing realistic swimming behavior for one or more microorganisms.

  • Environment - 24 high-res textures to use as backgrounds or to add microscopic debris to your scene.

  • Finished Comps From Demo - all animations from the video above are included, and completely customizable.

  • Custom Camera Actions - Imitate a microscope with automatic focus changes, wobbles, and realistic panning to follow moving organisms.

Lens flare design for microscopic organism FX
Sperm fertilizing egg effect, animated in After Effects with "Micro" template

How it Works

Lens flare design

Micro uses photos and video clips of real microorganisms to get the most realistic results. A library of organisms is included. Or, you can use your own photo. With the included effects, your organism will spin, wiggle, and warp shape to make the organism look alive. As another option, you can use the provided tools to create your own organism—perfect for making strange, alien species.

With the Custom Movement feature, simply drop any microorganism into a precomp, and instantly generate a colony of organsims—each swimming or moving indepently. The customization controls allow you to customize their behavior. You can remove organisms as needed, or duplicate organisms to create a population of hundreds.

The Action Presets are pre-made animations featuring microorganisms in commonly-seen microscopic scenarios, such as microbes multiplying, or being injected with a needle. Swap out the microorganisms in the precomps, and instantly get a custom animation without all the work! Similarly, the comps for all the animations in the demo video (above) are included, allowing you to easily pick and choose elements you like, and copy-paste them into your own animation.

The included Background and Environment layers allow you to bring texture and non-living debris into your scene, adding to the realism.

After assembling all the different elements of your scene into your main comp, you can customize the camera with the Camera Control Layer. The controls allow you to quickly create camera movements and actions that imitate a microscope. Turn on the random camera wobbles and focus changes to really sell the effect!

After Effects tutorial for creating custom microbe and microscopic life animations in After Effects with "Micro"

Learn how to make your custom microbe animation in After Effects!

Lens flare element made in After Effects

Need to Know

  • This template is compatible with Adobe After Effects, version 16.0 (CC 2019) and all later versions. Works on both PCs and Macs. No plugins required.

  • All main comps are HD, 1920x1080. You can convert to 4K or other resolutions by changing dimensions of main comps, precomps, and solid layers (instructions in tutorial).

  • These effects are designed to imitate the microscopic world as seen through a microscope. It is not for making 3D animations.

  • The included DNA effect lets you customize the basic width, shape, and colors. It is a 2D effect, but it spins in a way that makes it appear 3D. You can not rotate the DNA in three dimensions.

  • The included Coronavirus effect is made from a 2D image of the virus. It is best used to create low-quality, grainy animations that more closely resemble real footage than the typical 3D animations you see on TV.

  • Detailed instructions are found throughout the template, as well as in the video tutorial.

  • Music in demo video not included.

  • This template has been "universalized", so it will work in After Effects running in any language.

Collage of microscopic species in the "Micro" template for After Effects

The Micro template is not a plugin, so there is nothing to install. Rather, it's an Adobe After Effects project file, commonly known as a "template" because most of the work is already done and the user needs only to make their own customizations. This template is compatible with version 2019 (16.0) as well as all later versions of After Effects.

Micro contains copyrighted intellectual property. The animations you create with this product are 100% yours and can be used for commercial purposes, but the sharing or online posting of project files with or for anyone other than a client is prohibited. See the Terms and Conditions for more details. All images and video clips in this template are from the public domain (Creative Commons CC0 license).

CDC / Public Health Image Library (PHIL)
Wikimedia Commons

Positive and/or negative feedback is appreciated. Use the contact page to send me a message.

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